Saturday, November 10, 2007

Showrunners Vow to Keep Walking Instead of Running

Wga_rally_3 The big story of the first week of the Writers Guild of America walkout has been the impressive solidarity the scribes have found not only in SAG members but from the television showrunner community, which formally met on Thursday more than 100-strong to declare that they won't be showing up to work anytime in the near future at great personal sacrifice.

Not only do their shows not get made, but they also face breach of contract lawsuits and termination. There's even one report already circulating that Fox has suspended all of its showrunner writer-producers, though in truth they've already suspended themselves.

There also is scuttlebutt afoot that the showrunners are discussing their own possible contract breach class action suit against the studios for not sharing all of the revenue taken in from all sources as stipulated in the producer-showrunner agreements. You want to see nasty? That would be nasty.

One of the showrunners in solidarity with the writers who requested anonymity maintains that "we will not go back to work -- not to edit or direct or do anything to help our individual shows. ... Everyone expected us to keep doing our jobs. And I have to say it is bitterly hard to stay away. I've been sick to my stomach all day today. But I'm not doing this for my own sake. It's for everybody. We have to do what we're doing for the good of the industry. It's ugly and it's unfair, but it's necessary."

The showrunner said that there are "some backchannel discussions" going on right now independent of the WGA and AMPTP leadership." But the producer admitted nothing is even close to being resolved on the Internet front in particular.

"Right now, the Internet, from what we have heard, is only being used right now at about 1% of what it's capable of as a distribution medium over the next five years," the runner said. "This dispute is about how that other 99% is going to be divvied up. ... If there isn't movement soon in getting together to talk, we'll be kissing off not only this TV season but possibly the one after that, too. What we all have to do is stop talking about principals and move toward our interests. That's what it's all about."